Series: Pragmatic Programmers
Paperback: 110 pages
Publisher: Pragmatic Bookshelf; 1 edition (February 4, 2011)
Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 7 inches
Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
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I've worked on agile teams for more than ten years. I'm amazed at the quality and quantity of information in this concise little deck of cards. You really could learn how to implement agile principles and values from these cards. My current team has been doing Scrum, XP and Lean practices since 2003, so I thought there wouldn't be anything new for us in these cards, but I was wrong. There are nuggets of information to drive new discussion and improvement, such as the Toyota Production System Principles.The first day we had the cards, one of our programmers refactored some code to reflect a change in business terminology and got rid of the old code. Lesser programmers might have just hacked in the terminology change, but he did it the right way - harder in the short term, but keeping our technical debt low for the long term. Our ScrumMaster pulled out card #6, Courage, which includes "To always deliver quality work" and "To throw away unneeded code and tests". It was nice affirmation that we did the right thing.We put cards that interest us up on the task board to think about, and we plan to read and discuss a card at each team retrospective. They're a great learning tool for everyone from agile newbies to high-functioning, experienced teams.
When Jeff and Tim first asked my opinion on turning their Agile in a Flash blog posts into physical cards for sale, I was pretty lukewarm. What was the value in cards with short pithy lists about various aspects about Agile? Some of these lists were not even new, but things in common use on the email discussion groups. I regretfully told them I didn't think there was much market for them.But I continued to read their blog--not regularly, but dipping in and out either on a whim or triggered by some comment made on the discussion groups. And I found myself shifting focus from the pithy lists that are now on the front of the cards, to the thoughtful and nuanced interpretation that is now condensed to fit the back of the cards. I found descriptions that were some of the best treatments of the /heart/ of Agile (rather than just the theory or mechanism) that I have ever heard. And I found insights that were valuable to me, an experienced Agile coach, yet still accessible to those new to Agile.Jeff and Tim bring an uncommon clarity of expression to this work. They demonstrate an uncommon simultaneous depth and breadth of understanding. I have often, since they first asked, wished their cards were available so I could hand one to a client.And now I can.
I love this format. A set of 50 cards covering nearly every aspect of Agile Software Development, one focused topic per card. The diversity of the topics included in the deck make it relevant to pretty much anyone from the CEO to the engineering team. I like being able to discuss an idea with someone and have a physical card that I have annotated during the conversation to leave as a reminder. It really helps drive the information home. I would be interested in seeing the authors put together a similar deck around development topics like TDD/Refactoring patterns for when I teach courses around development practices. If they had one, I'd certainly be a customer of that as well.
Not only is it a fantastic collection of guidelines, warnings and excercises, but also, of tremendous value for anyone and everyone involved in the software industry for working towards truly being agile.
I've been working with agile development and agile teams for a bit over 5 years now. I've taught the same lessons to hundreds of people and coached some of them through the transition. The thing that I always have to concentrate on is to remember to repeat the same basic principles again and again, as well as make sure that they understand the underlying values. I also usually give the teams a list of useful books, and pray for at least someone of them would read some of those books. The Agile in a Flash cards are a perfect tool to ease this.The simple cards with very central instructions can be used various ways. Use them as guidance in agile trainings, help out teams with the cards, discuss the cards with your team, learn a new aspect daily, spread the cards around organization and at the same time spread agile thinking.I'm looking forward for the extension set to this deck of cards from Tim and Jeff. Maybe a deck of coaching & facilitation tools...?
We've been an agile shop for over 7 years. These cards help me communicate to those outside the department how we operate. I too will be using these when the auditors arrive, giving them an quick understanding. For those working ona a project, (5 teams going), being a Business Analyst, DBA, Developer, Tester, Project Lead, Security Analyst, there is something "in the cards" for them all.
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